That New Bar Smell. A First Visit to Copper Coin

There are few things I appreciate more than a bar that feels like it has been lived in, but I just love that new bar smell. Last night we attended the soft opening at Copper Coin, which is delightfully near the Washington Beer Blog world headquarters in West Seattle. The official grand opening happens on Wednesday, November 17.

Located in the space formerly occupied by the Porterhouse, Copper Coin is a restaurant and bar with 19 taps dedicated to beer (current tap list is below), four taps dedicated to wine, one tap dedicated to cider, and high-quality cocktails mixed by bartenders who know that making a good drink requires you to shake it like you hate it.

The new occupants gave the old Porterhouse a much needed paint job, added some of their own flare, and generally spruced things up. The space now seems bright, cheery and inviting. They also added booth seating in the main dining area. As was the case at the Porterhouse, the bar will prove to be woefully small for a neighborhood that loves good beer. You should not be surprised that I think the bar needs to be bigger. I am, after all, a beer guy. The bar always needs to be bigger. Truth told, the size of the bar is an incurable reality of the building’s footprint.

[singlepic id=424 w=320 h=240 float=none]

The food menu features a range of salads, burgers, and imaginative pub fare. For an appetizer, we ordered the Vietnamese-style steak skewers served with a spicy, roasted peanut slaw. The lemongrass-marinated, perfectly cooked hanger steak was tender and masterfully seasoned, but the slaw is what really made this dish shine. The Viet-Thai slaw provides a potent, herbaceous and tangy counter punch to the rich, savory steak.

For our main courses, we ordered the fish tacos and the jambalaya. Paired perfectly with a Helles lager from Chuckanut Brewery, the fried Alaskan cod tacos are served with a bright and smoky chipotle mayonnaise. The paper wrapping is a nice touch, both decoratively and structurally.

[singlepic id=420 w=320 h=240 float=none]

As it should be, the jambalaya clocked in at about three-stars on the spicy scale. Heat freaks will be satisfied but not overly torched; wimps should stay away. The andouille, chicken and prawns are served on skewers atop the dish, allowing you to jumble these components into the jambalaya or enjoy them separately. Complex, savory, and hot, this dish paired very nicely with an Interurban IPA from Fremont Brewing. A Smoked Porter from Stone Brewing would also have been a good choice.

[singlepic id=421 w=320 h=240 float=none]

Knowing the neighborhood, and how well the West Seattle Blog publicized the soft opening, we expected a massive crowd to arrive promptly at 5:00 when the doors opened. Because of the rain and the horrendous traffic, the crowd trickled in. By 7:00, the place was packed and people were waiting for tables. We were impressed with the calmness of the staff in the face of the wet, thirsty and hungry throngs of West Seattle humanity. We were paying very close attention to detail and it was hard to recognize that this was an opening night.

I would suffer the slings and arrows of my westie besties if I failed to mention that one of the 19 taps is dedicated to Rainier Beer, with a nearly irresistible happy hour price of just $1.50. While West Seattle is a neighborhood that appreciates good beer, there is always room at the bar for a mountain fresh Rainier. Well, as long as there are 18 craft beers from which to choose.

Copper Coin
2329 California Ave SW
Seattle, WA 98116

(206) 420-3608

Here is the current tap lineup.

  1. Anthem Cider
  2. Boulevard Wheat
  3. Chuckanut Helles
  4. Diamond Knott Brown
  5. Dogfish Head 90 Minute
  6. Fremont Interurban IPA
  7. Georgetown Manny’s Pale
  8. Harmon Amber
  9. Hilliard’s Chrome Satan
  10. HUB Deluxe Organic
  11. Laughing Dog Rocket Dog Rye IPA
  12. Laurelwood Free Range Red
  13. Lazy Boy Oktoberfest
  14. New Belgium Peach Porch  Lounger
  15. Rainier
  16. Scuttlebutt Blonde
  17. 7 Seas Export Stout
  18. Stone Smoked Porter
  19. Two Beers Pale
  20. Two Beers Fresh Hop

[nggallery id=27]